LB Peyton Pelluer mistakes a young fan for Connor Halliday (Bob Johnson/Cougfan.com)

As Jeremiah Allison looked on from stands, WSU linebacker Peyton Pelluer worked to fill his leadership role

SPOKANE — Peyton Pelluer and Jeremiah Allison both said Saturday’s Crimson and Gray Game felt strange. Pelluer said lining up at middle linebacker without Allison on his flank is taking some adjusting and requires that he take on a bigger leadership role on defense.

Allison, who will graduate from WSU next month and hopefully earn an NFL tryout, was watching from the stands. Adorned in his letterman’s jacket, he told the Pac-12 Networks the game marked the first Cougar contest he ever attended without suiting up and the feeling was a bit unsettling.

Pelluer, meanwhile, told Cougfan.com after the game that he finds himself “trying to communicate more” with his fellow defenders with the absence of Allison, a strong team leader the last two seasons.

“Coach Wilson and Coach Grinch expect that out of me – to communicate and help out these guys so this defense can be the best that it can be," Pelluer said.

“Yeah, I’m doing a little adjusting.”

But, he said, transitions are part of the territory.

“That’s the thing about football,” said the fourth-year junior from Skyline High in Sammamish. “I’m excited to see new guys make new plays. This spring has been awesome seeing them get the reps they need.

“You gotta reload each year. (Logan) Tago is a stud and so is Dylan (Hanser). Frankie Luvu is getting better each day. He’s fun to play next to because he has so much passion and fire and he can hit.”

Pelleur, who posted six total tackles, said Saturday wasn’t a day to worry about defensive schemes.

“Today was simplified,” he said. “Not much of our defensive package was in there. We just got out there and flew around. We could free up our minds and just make plays.”

Head coach Mike Leach praised the defense’s effort.

“We were out of position sometimes, but we tackled well. I thought it was good work and now we have a chance to back and watch some film and sort it out from there. We can go back out Tuesday and make corrections and sort things out,” he said.

NOTABLE:

  • Attendance was announced at a generous 4,129, down from 6,270 a year ago and 6,233 in 2014.
  • Incoming WSU President Kirk Schulz was on hand for the game and told Ashley Adamson of the Pac-12 Networks that he believes WSU needs to market and brand itself nationally. He think the 2016 Cougar football team will help in that effort.
  • The two squads ran a combined 128 offensive plays — 92 through the air and 36 on the ground. 
  • Allison said regardless how his NFL aspirations turn out, his ultimate goal remains law school.

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